The Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society charity golf club committee from a previous year’s event. The 2020 event will be going ahead, with precautions for COVID-19. (Submitted photo: Dylan Van Rooyen)

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society modifies annual golf tournament for COVID-19

Society first looked at hosting virtual event

The Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society is bringing back its annual golf tournament.

The ninth-annual Charity Golf Tournament at the Guildford Golf & Country Club will be Sept. 15, and charitable society board director Dylan Van Rooyen said there are still some spots left.

Typically, he said, the tournament has about 144 people (in groups of four).

“We’ve had to drop our numbers this year because we didn’t want to encourage 150 people gathering and having dinner. We’ve had to modify it a little bit,” he said.

Initially, the society looked at hosting a virtual tournament, but Van Rooyen said the feedback “wasn’t overly exciting.”

To keep with COVID-19 social and physical distancing rules, Van Rooyen said they’re staggering registration for a maximum of 50 people registering at a time.

He added that each foursome will start playing at a different hole.

“Obviously a little bit different than years in the past, as far as activities at the holes. Typically, we do a fundraiser where we all gather together and watch 1,000 balls drop out of a bucket attached to the top of a fire truck ladder — that’s not going to happen because we can’t get everyone together.”

“But we’ve still got everyone coming out to golf.”

Following the tournament is usually a group dinner and speeches, but Van Rooyen says they’ve had to modify that as well.

He said, this year people will go and eat as soon as they’ve finished.

“We’re not going to do the traditional speeches, where typically you kind of gather in a small space so everyone can hear,” Van Rooyen explained.

“We’re losing a little bit of that coming together as a large group, but at the same time, everyone still knows the group’s out on the course. They might be spread over a very large distance but that group is still in the same area for the same cause.”

Van Rooyen added that the society and the golf club is taking the precautions needed to have the tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic, such as handwashing stations and hand sanitizer “just so everyone feels comfortable and understands that we’ve definitely taken quite a few steps.”

“Everyone’s out golfing anyways, but let’s do it safely.”

The golf tournament helps to fund the charitable society’s community donations to causes such as the nutritional school snack programs, high school programs and the BC Burn Fund.

People can register to play or sponsor the event at surreyfirefighters.com/golf.

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